- FIFA Legend Nia Kunzer looks back at Germany’s win over Nigeria
- 2003 World Cup-winning goalscorer impressed with the tournament in France
- “The German team shouldn’t hide from anyone”
After Germany’s 3-0 win over Nigeria in the Round of 16, FIFA.com sat down with Nia Kunzer, the scorer of the golden goal that saw Germany win their first ever FIFA Women’s World Cup™ back in 2003. She spoke about France 2019 in general and the performance of the German team in particular.
FIFA.com: What are your impressions of the tournament thus far?
Kunzer: In 2015, they beefed it up [to 24 teams] and this has proven to be the right decision. One or two teams are not quite up to it in terms of quality but it’s important that everyone here can gain experience in the opening round. This World Cup has certainly had great appeal. No other women’s sport can match it. There are an increasing number of big countries and more and more contenders, with the gaps between them all getting smaller.
Last February, we spoke to Pia Sundhage, who said that defending was on the up in women’s football, and that to take it to the next level there needed to be better ideas in attack…
I agree. To put it bluntly, anyone can defend. Plenty of teams who are not among the favourites can go without conceding for a long time and make it tough for the bigger countries. The next step is for these teams to do more up front and for the top teams to come up with ideas on how to break down these defences. That is the challenge that the German team was facing when they came here and that is still the case.
It’s tough to narrow it down and say who the out-and-out favourites are, isn’t it?
Well it’s a little easier now that there are fewer teams left in the tournament (laughs). Ahead of the event, you had the host team France, the USA – as always, dark horses Spain, the Netherlands were the European champions, England, the Scandinavian countries… In some of the matches remaining, it will come down to whichever team plays better on the day.
What impressions have you got from the German team?
Nine points in the group stage, through to the quarter-finals – the facts speak for themselves. I’ve also seen that the team have taken things to the next level. They’re all saying though that they’re not entirely satisfied with the football they’ve been playing.
The question is whether you really want to play your most attractive football in the knockout stage. I find it surprising that the players still set themselves such high standards. They don’t just want to win, they want to play beautiful football. They want to keep a clean sheet as that creates an impression.
Where can you see room for improvement for Germany?
I’d definitely like them to score more goals with the way they’re playing. It would be nice if Germany’s game plan were more expansive as they are certainly playing within their potential. Maybe it will be more open in the quarter-finals and they will be able to make the most of it.
How has the loss of Dzsenifer Marozsan changed Germany’s approach?
With so many World Cup debutantes in the squad, they’re doing very well at spreading the responsibility around. Everyone is ready to step up for their team-mates. So many of them are capable of playing in various different positions and Martina [Voss-Tecklenburg] is having them do that, which is something that takes some getting used to. But there is always someone in the right position and the team is playing in an incredibly disciplined way. Everything used to revolve around Dzsenifer Marozsan because she is currently one of the best players in the world but now they are actually managing to create opportunities as a team.
Where do Germany stand compared to other countries? It’s tough to establish a hierarchy.
It’s difficult to predict how things will look against a given opponent. USA and France have definitely created a good impression but I trust this team on their day to come out with a solid defensive performance and give as good as they get.
Fans interested in attending the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019 can still purchase tickets for the tournament via www.fifa.com/tickets, as well as via ticket booths located at stadia for remaining matches still available to the general public.